2 migrants killed, 19 injured in van crash in Serbia
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Two people were killed and 19 were injured when a van packed with migrants overturned in eastern Serbia, police said Sunday.
Police said the accident occurred late Saturday near the border with Bulgaria and that the Serb driver of the vehicle was arrested on suspicion that he illegally smuggled the migrants into Serbia.
Police said that 22 people were in the minibus when it hit a post and then overturned at high speed. They said the driver had tried to evade a police patrol. Four migrants suffered serious injuries, police said.
Serbian media reports said that the passengers were mostly in their teens.
The so-called Balkan migrant route leading from Bulgaria and Greece via Macedonia and Serbia reached its peak in 2015 when hundreds of thousands of those fleeing wars and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia tried to cross into European Unionmember Hungary and Croatia on their way to richer Western European states.
The route is still active, but with a smaller number of people trying to cross because Hungary and Croatia introduced barbed wire fences and tough controls of their borders, including violent pushbacks.
Serbian State TV said that migrant smugglers are seeking between 200 and 500 euros per person to transport them across Serbia.